Leslie Soule is an author who likes to experiment within the
fantasy genre. She is the author of the novel Fallenwood and
she lives in Sacramento, California.
Learn more about Leslie:
New Title(s) from Leslie Soule
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||Alexis doesn’t understand her weird grandma, who buys
enough food for an army and keeps unusual items stored in
her closet. Then she has to write a paper for her high
school English class, and her grandmother becomes her
inspiration as she imagines her grandma Diane’s life as a
Steampunk story set in an alternate France. Napoleon has
been killed in the Battle of the Nile. After the storming of
the Bastille, a group forms to protect the heroes of the
People’s Liberation Movement – that group is the Birds of a
Feather. Follow Alexis as she weaves a tale of courage,
hope, and adventure in the age of steam.
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||Long ago, the world known as Fallenwood—Terra Illumina,
broke off from its sister planet in a cosmic light show of
force and fury, starting a chain reaction that fueled the
events of the novel, Fallenwood. With Worlds Divide, see how
it all began!
Word Count: 3200
Pages to Print: 13
File Format: PDF
|Regas thought he was the only human-animal hybrid on The
Empress, the ship belonging to a mysterious organization
known as T-Tech. When another hybrid comes to set him free,
he is torn between the world he knows, and one that seems
too good to be true. The other hybrids want to escape to a
whole new world, trusting their fates to their swift little
ship called The Canary, as they engage in a desperate
attempt to escape the universe’s collapse by a phenomenon
known as The Big Crunch. Will Regas trust this band of
seemingly loony hybrids, and attempt escape? Or will he
follow T-Tech in believing that there isn’t any danger at
all? Adventure awaits, and only time will tell . . .
Word Count: 60457
Pages to Print: 197
File Format: PDF
Birds of a Feather
Sunday, October 17th, 2010
My grandma is the weirdest person ever. OMG. Her house
is so dark and stuffy, like it’s haunted or something. I opened
the hall closet when she went out to the grocery store and left
me at the house alone. That’s when I found the weirdest thing—a
metal bird statue. The creepy part was that as I closed the
door, I could have sworn I saw it blink! Thank goodness Dad came
over after work to take Grandma and me out to dinner. You know
how Grandma is with food—buys enough to feed an army and then it
all goes bad and stuff is kept way past its expiration date.
I remember how she’d make me finish every scrap of food
on my plate. She’s gotten better about that over the years, but
she still tells me how lucky I am to even have food. So anyway,
whatever. If I don’t like something, I’ll just throw it away
when she’s not looking. Oh, and all lunch she rambled on and on
about how we’re all so lucky to live in America. Grandma Diane
is from France. She came here a long time ago. So, I have a
short story due this Friday for my Creative Writing class and
I’ve decided to try writing a Steampunk story about Grandma.
Monday, October 18th, 2010
I am SO reminded of why I hate history. Well, besides
the fact that Mr. Duke goes on and on about the most boring
stuff that I almost fall asleep every day in first period. So
I’ve got that Steampunk story due Friday and Mrs. Martinez said
we have to make the stories believable and stuff and we have to
write about the research we did for it and everything. I spent
like all of my lunch today in the library while that dorky aide
Cory ogled me. It was way creepy—like movie stalker creepy.
Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far:
—Story will be about the end of the French Revolution.
—Little man Napoleon was killed at the Battle of the
Nile. He would have been twenty-nine. That gets him out of the
way, and that was a huge obstacle since he’s in like all the
French history books.
—I had to make the King and Marie Antoinette be dead
and be killed by this liberation movement. This movement also
did the whole Bastille thing. Anyway, I’m gonna write Grandma in
as the main character. I feel like I need to give her a love
interest—maybe I’ll make him look like that really cute guy that
sits next to me in fourth period English. What a hottie. I think
he’s going out with that Megan girl though. Ugh. I totally don’t
know what he sees in her.
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
Two more days left to go and I’ve totally been putting
off writing this thing. Maybe I should have picked a different
type of story. But Steampunk just sounded so cool. Jenna is like
almost done with her story though and it’s a romance and I
didn’t think we were even allowed to write that. So I looked up
Steampunk to see what else I could write about other than the
French stuff, and it’s about machines and things. I thought
about that robot statue thing in Grandma’s closet. It would be
Friday, October 21st, 2010
So I turned in my story today. I think it came out
okay. Becca asked me if I’m gonna show it to Grandma Diane and I
was all “NO!” Lol.
Paris, France. 1802. End of the French Revolution.
Diane LeFleur had been four years old when she peered
out from behind her mother’s dirty apron and took in the smoke
and the shouting—the wild, rampant chaos that was the storming
of the Bastille. She could remember it all so clearly. She could
close her eyes and see it playing out on the darkness of her
eyelids. That was thirteen years ago. Things were different now.
Diane glanced at the feather tattoo on her left wrist.
I am a member of the People’s Liberation Movement, too. In honor
of their liberation—one that allowed them to fly from the
horrors of the tyranny of the Bastille—loyal members called
themselves the Birds of a Feather, getting feather tattoos and
adopting bird-like surnames to show their loyalty. Though Diane
had never been a prisoner herself, she was eternally scarred by
the things she had seen. Death to the monarchy.
Things were so different now. France was no longer
France—it was now known only as Cinque-Levier. The major cities
had become city-states. Paris, The City of Lights, had become a
place of stark contrast, a battleground of illumination and
shadows. Paris was now Contrastique. The city of Lyon had been
given the name Coeur De Lion by its self-proclaimed ruler and
benefactor, the wealthy businessman Frank Mercer.
Coeur De Lion was the rival of the city-state of
Contrastique, in an arms race that was quickly picking up speed.
In Contrastique, the search was on for the universal solvent.
Diane Falcon was going to be leading an expedition into Coeur De
Lion, a potentially dangerous reconnaissance mission involving
infiltrating the headquarters building of Tri-Quest, Frank
It was the Age of Steam and the Age of Innovation and
the Age of Metalwork, with all five city-states vying to be the
winner of an arms race. Diane was sure Contrastique would win.
She knew her father’s abilities would tip the scales in their
Diane admired her father’s skill as a mechanical
genius. He routinely hid himself away at all hours of the day
and night, tinkering in his workshop, constantly busy with
projects. Diane hadn’t picked up his love of tinkering, but she
possessed the qualities of a natural leader. The lack of a
mother for ten years of her life had made her bold, forced her
to grow up like she’d been raised as a boy. At seventeen, she
now sat in her father’s workshop in Contrastique, creating plans
for a meeting.
Back to Birds of a Feather
Long ago, in a light show of force and fury, the world was split
by cosmic lightning. The one world split in two, forming Terra
Aristo and Terra Illumina. The agent of The Eternal, the force
governing all creation, stirred the soup of the cosmos; the
elemental mix blended into a beautiful concoction. The big
chunks were orbs of hot gases; stars infused the mixture with
life and heat. The tendrils of white that circled the orbs, thin
as spider webs, were spirit cords, winding around the planets
and infusing them with the stuff of life.
A large bubble of hot matter floated in the celestial broth, and
The Eternal’s agent struck it, deeming it too large to exist as
one entity, stirring with a lightning spoon.
The bolt ripped through the cosmos, pummeling through stars with
the force of its linear trajectory. It hit the orb of celestial
fire off-center, shearing a small chunk off the larger. A few
souls screamed in agony as they were cut in half, one part now
remaining on each of the two separate spheres. The halves
re-melded into orbs; bubbles floating in the cosmos.
The larger orb, Terra Aristo, glowed much hotter than the other.
It floated on, colliding with a much larger sphere of water.
Half-submerged, Terra Aristo began to cool and the gases and
elements formed liquid magma that glowed and steamed as it
fought off the cooling influence of aqua vitae. Terra Aristo
rotated and cooled further until a crust covered the surface.
The heavier metals and elements began to settle in the planet’s
core, sinking to the center. The water rapidly evaporated into
steam. Now, the planet resembled a hard jawbreaker. The hand of
The Eternal reached into the cosmic melting pot, scooping up the
newly-formed planet, and The Eternal took a bite. The surface
broke; cracks covered the little hard orb, fissures where molten
magma seeped through. Plate tectonics was born.
It’s much too hot to eat. I’d better let it cool a while longer.
The Head Chef of the universe came by and washed off the little
gob and then gently placed it back in the stew, to float in a
bubble of water. He glanced at the broth for a moment, certain
that he saw something foul—maybe poisonous, black and peppery.
When he rubbed his eyes and looked again, it was gone. Must have
just been my imagination . . .
Back to Worlds
Chapter One: Tea and The Abyss
In a Ship Called The Empress, in the Laboratory
Year 12,212,012 A.D.
Regas shuddered, as a group of T-Tech agents walked by his cell.
For the first time, he felt insecure there, knowing that the
walls could not protect him from the guns of the Empire. One of
the men stopped to stare at him, a look that pierced Regas with
its animosity and made his hackles raise involuntarily. It’s
like they know—like I’ve somehow become the enemy to them. I
don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this kind of treatment, but
I do know that it’s not fair. The winds of change stirred in the
air—not real wind, but the manmade breezes of the ship’s life
support system. Still, something had changed imperceptibly
overnight, and he looked out into the lab with new eyes, new
wishes, and a newfound sense of curiosity. He was hoping that
Rory, the lab tech, would be working today. Regas had two more
hours left between then and now, and this somber thought put him
in a pensive mood. “If only I knew what to do . . .”
He looked around his cell at the same old familiar, albeit
boring, surroundings. He checked the schedule. A new visual
display showed on his cell’s wall each day, on an area no larger
than a dinner plate. He read through the listings—no tests or
exams until tomorrow. The rest of the day stretched out before
him, filling him with its own kind of dread. How will I fill the
hours of my life that stretch away and away? No—I should
rephrase the question. How CAN I fill this time? What CAN I do?
He looked over at his text reader. He could read literature, but
he would have had to put in a request first and get the approval
of the Program Administrator—a man he’d never met and probably
didn’t want to know. The whole process could easily take a week.
A growl slipped from his throat. I don’t feel like filling out
another request. It was easier to play video games or drink tea.
Neither of those activities required any sort of approval.
A plain white mug weighed in his paw, reassuring him. I do feel
Setting the mug onto the small platform of the tea dispenser, he
pressed the button for Earl Grey, then watched as the dark brown
liquid began filling the mug’s interior with a familiar brew
that held its own sort of comfort. At least there would always
be tea. He grasped the mug and, walking to the other end of his
cell, sat on his cot and warmed his paws on the ceramic life
preserver. What else can I do?
The video game system sat at the far side of the cell,
programmed with a vast library of programs and simulations, yet
today they held no interest for him. The one thing I really
want, I can’t have. Sure, I can walk around the ship, one
hallway at a time, with an armed escort. That isn’t freedom.
I’ve imagined life being so much better.
Every day, he felt the acute sting of the crew’s projected fear
and anger. Even if I broke out, would I truly ever be free? I’ll
always be a hybrid—I’m doomed to a life of second-class
citizenship forever. He sipped the Earl Grey, the only kind of
tea he’d experienced onboard this ship. He’d learned that back
in the days of Ancient Earth, they’d had hundreds of tantalizing
varieties—but Earth had died long ago, the only existing records
a series of digitized notes: a reference of sorts, called the
AEctionary—the Ancient Earth dictionary. And as much as Regas
could read about the tigers of Ancient Earth, as a human-tiger
hybrid, he was something else, entirely.
The world outside the lab was a frightening place. He didn’t
dare escape. Where would I go? What would I do? He didn’t know
the layout of the ship. What if it’s all just a complex of
multiple warehouse-style laboratories, like this one? But then,
another little voice, deep inside, said, “What if it’s not?” He
let his mind wander for a few indulgent moments as the Earl Grey
steeped. What if it’s larger and grander than I’ve ever
imagined? What if there aren’t just labs, but schools,
hospitals, control observatories and libraries? What if there
are others like me?
Thus, the war within manifested itself in his mind—to leave or
to stay, and always there remained the lingering inner voices,
questioning what he would find in the great beyond outside of
his cell. Could there be others? He’d certainly never seen one
before, but their existence seemed logical.
All of which led to a logical conclusion. Having this entire
program for a single hybrid doesn’t make sense. He stood up and
walked over to the Plastiglass. I’ll start by asking a simple
question. Spying a female lab worker, he tapped on the cell
wall. Humans would consider her beautiful, with arched eyebrows
and full rose-colored lips. She looked at him over her glasses
and beneath a dark veil of hair.
“Excuse me,” he said, knocking again on the Plastiglass. “I have
She appeared to pretend not to notice, and returned to her
Maybe she didn’t hear me. He decided to try again, knocking
louder, and this time she looked up, annoyed.
“What do you want?” she asked, tapping her stylus on the table.
“I was wondering if there are any other hybrids like me.”
She shook her head, but whether this was an answer or a
dismissal, he could not tell. I guess that tactic won’t work. He
owed his whole life to T-Tech, but lately, so many strange
thoughts swarmed in his head. They’re keeping me in the dark,
and I’m tired of it. No—I shouldn’t be thinking that. After all,
they’ve graciously supported me all these years. He looked down
at his Earl Grey. They provide me with all the necessary
comforts—shelter, food, water, and even luxuries like tea and
coffee, and a modicum of knowledge, through access to the
AEctionary. And yet, as he looked at the young lab tech,
something stirred in his soul. I need to get out of here, even
for just a little while.
Something else troubled him, tickling the far reaches of his
consciousness; a phrase he’d heard one of the scientists mention
in the course of conversation. Boston Tea Party. In the dead of
a recent night, he’d stayed up past lights-out, checked for
guards, then signed in to the AEctionary from the terminal in
his Plastiglass cube. These new words intrigued him. He’d
learned a lot in the course of casual conversation with the few
lab technicians who would actually talk to him, like the
friendly bio-technician Rory. Regas had even learned a new word
yesterday—Luna. He slowly lowered his mug of tea to the floor;
remembering, contemplating, careful not to look suspicious,
making the movements he’d always made before. After all, the
AEctionary had a thing or two to say about the art of illusion
and disguising one’s true intentions.
He slowly walked over to the terminal and accessed the
AEctionary, typing hastily on the keyboard on the shelf before
him, entering the word into the prompt—Luna. There’s got to be
an explanation somewhere on the computer’s database. He’d heard
the word in an offhand remark from Rory a couple days before.
Luna was the spherical satellite, the moon the people of Ancient
Earth saw in the heavens, it had glowed up there like a magical
disk. People prayed to it, guided their ships by it, attributed
the power of gods and goddesses to it. It must have been a
wonder to behold—but then he dropped from imagination to the
present—so was the interstellar corporation known as T-Tech. He
respected T-Tech as a powerful entity, building itself up as
every company must, and yet . . . and yet he wanted to dump his
one luxury into T-Tech’s harbor, like the men in the story of
the Boston Tea Party had done. That, and an idea gripped his
heart like a vise. I want to see Earth’s moon. But so far as he
knew, Earth no longer existed, and maybe even Luna had been
destroyed in the wars of Ancient Earth. He’d made a mental note
to try to read more about the subject later.